"Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss wildfire response and recovery efforts in
2017 AND 2018 WILDIRES AND RELATED RECOVERY EFFORTS
"In the past two years,
"In 2017, wind-driven fires in
"The 2017 Creek Fire burned 15,619 acres, destroyed 123 structures and resulted in 115,000 residents being evacuated. Also, in 2017, the Rye Fire burned a total of 6,049 acres, threatened over 5,000 structures, including
"In 2018, the 459,123-acre
"Restoration and rehabilitation after wildland fires is critical to the future health of the forest and safety of adjacent communities. For example, in the Creek Fire area, the
"In the Ranch Fire area, we are in the planning phase of the 40,000-acre
2019 FIRE YEAR
"This past winter,
"Together with our partners, we have a world-renowned wildland fire organization that is ready to respond. The
REDUCING FIRE RISK AND IMPROVING FOREST CONDITIONS
"Currently, more than 25 million acres of
"Last August, the
"In recent legislation, the
"The 2014 Farm Bill Categorical Exclusions (CEs) are being used on National Forest System lands for projects in watersheds experiencing or at risk of insect and disease outbreaks on up to 3,000 acres. Designating watersheds using the Insect and Disease CEs allows us to more efficiently implement treatments across the landscape. Since the establishment of the insect and disease CE, National Forests in Region 5 have signed a decision memo for 35 projects using the CE that will treat up to 105,000 acres.
Hazardous Fuels Reduction
"In 2018, the
Prescribed Fire and Creating More Resilient Forests
"The application of prescribed fire presents one of the best opportunities for reducing risk to firefighters and the public long-term while achieving our land management objectives on a meaningful scale. Studies have shown that prescribed fires and fires managed for a resource objective result in a fraction of the emissions from large wildfires. And while the costs associated with fire suppression is at an all-time high, fires managed for resource objectives typically cost taxpayers less than half of a fire with a full suppression strategy. Similarly, the use of prescribed fire is one of the least costly forest management tools available. In 2018, the
PROMOTING FIRE-ADAPTED COMMUNITIES
Building Capacity for Prevention, Mitigation, Control and Suppression of Wildfires
"The first responders on almost 75 percent of wildfires are local fire departments or state agencies. Collaboration between the
"Through the National Fire Capacity program, the
Assisting Communities and Homeowners Prepare for Wildfire
"Funding provided through the National Fire Capacity program is also used to support Fire Safe Councils across the country.
"Over the past five years, over 500 communities have been assisted through these National Fire Capacity grant funds for outreach and education projects, community wildfire risk planning and hazardous fuel/community mitigation projects, which align with the tenets of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy.
Aiding Local Volunteer Fire Departments
"Through the Rural Fire Capacity Program, the
"Wildfire Prevention Education Teams support wildland fire prevention and educational needs prior to and during periods of high wildland fire danger. Teams are highly effective in their ability to reduce human-caused wildland ignitions and are equipped to develop and implement on-site prevention assessments and plans. In early August, the
"Federal, state and local governments and private landowners can work together across larger landscapes to create healthy forests. However, it will take many years of work to reverse the trend we have experienced over the past several years and larger wildland fires over a protracted fire season presents a "new normal" that we cannot ignore.
"This concludes my remarks. I would be happy to answer any questions. Thank you for the opportunity to testify."